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Five steps to keep workers safe around machinery

Virginia residents who work around machinery, whether heavy duty or smaller and easier to operate, know that there are hazards involved. Improper use of machinery, in addition to poor maintenance and a lack of protective guarding, can raise the risk for an injury. Employees and employers alike should consider the five safety tips below to prevent any machinery-related incidents.

Machine guarding is essential as it can prevent caught in/between injuries, eye injuries and burn injuries from rotating parts, flying chips and sparks. Examples of machine protection include barrier guards, light curtains and two-hand operating devices. Second, employees must make sure to wear the proper personal protective equipment, or PPE. This can include helmets, ear protection, goggles, respirators and gloves depending on the nature of the work. Employers should conduct a hazard assessment to determine what PPE to get.

Employers should have experienced personnel conduct training on machine safety. As for the last two tips, they regard specific situations. Workers should never interfere with machine operators or come in contact with moving parts. The former can break the operator's focus and lead to injury. Workers should stay away from unloading zones, too, because unloading systems can malfunction and drop things. Employers should teach their employees best practices and put up signs to clearly mark those zones.

Injured employees may be able to file for workers' compensation, and a lawyer might be helpful. This is especially true if there are complications: Perhaps their employer is disputing the severity of their injuries, or they wish to receive a settlement in a lump sum payout. The lawyer might hire medical experts to show that the injuries are all accident-related and that the accident was indeed work-related, and if the claim is denied, the lawyer may help mount an appeal. The claim might cover medical expenses, a percentage of lost wages and more.

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